Pennsylvania Seeking to Mount a Major Effort to Combat Campus Sexual Assault

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has made addressing the problem of sexual assault on college campuses a priority of his administration. The governor’s “It’s on Us, PA” program has provided more than $5 million in grants to 190 public and private postsecondary schools for programs to combat sexual assault.

Now the governor has proposed four new legislative initiatives to further address the problem of sexual assault.

* The governor wants to enact a ‘yes means yes’ law that would require all postsecondary institutions to have policies with clear standards of what is and is not consent. This measure would also require colleges and universities to have sexual violence awareness programs and agreements with local rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs so survivors get the academic, living, and other accommodations that can help them stay in school.

* Another bill would strengthen protections for victims of on-campus crime by requiring the schools to inform victims of their rights and services and to provide protective accommodations or protective measures, if requested by the victim.

* Legislation calling for the implementation of a program to teach middle and high school students how to prevent dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking has also been proposed.

* Finally, a bill would create a task force to study sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking in grades 6-12 and postsecondary institutions. The Joint State Government Commission would conduct the study to better understand student experiences and improve response efforts.



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